A 66-year old man who claimed that he acted in self-defense was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder for fatally shooting another man during a dispute over tree trimmings in front of his house in East Oakland in 2016.
Jurors deliberated for two and a half days before announcing their verdict against Vick Malone, 66, just before noon for the shooting of Ernest Henry McMurry Jr., 50, of Union City, outside Malone’s home in the 2300 block of 80th Avenue at about 1:50 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2016.
Jurors also convicted Malone of attempted murder for shooting at McMurry’s uncle Teddy Walker, who wasn’t injured.
In addition, jurors convicted Malone of an enhancement that he killed McMurry by discharging a firearm, a finding that adds 25 years to life to the term of 25 years to life that Malone is facing for his first-degree murder conviction.
That means Malone, who looked straight ahead and didn’t show any emotion when the verdict was announced, faces a total term of at least 57 years to life when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay on May 11.
Malone admitted on the witness stand last week that he fired a single shot that killed McMurry, but said he acted in self-defense after the other man pointed a gun at him.
Malone said the shooting was the culmination of a violent fight that broke out after he put tree trimmings on top of McMurry’s car, which was parked in the driveway of Malone’s neighbor, who was McMurry’s girlfriend.
Malone said McMurry got mad at him when he saw the trimmings on his car and an argument ensued in which McMurry and his uncle, Walker, pinned him on the ground and punched him and stomped on him.
Malone also said McMurry held a knife to his throat at one point and threatened to kill him.
McMurry and his uncle eventually let him get up and he was able to retreat to his house, but he said he didn’t call the police because he didn’t think he had time to do so.
“I didn’t realize where the phone was and there was so much going on in my mind that I wasn’t thinking about a phone.”
Malone said he got a rifle from his bedroom to protect himself because he heard Walker telling McMurry to take a gun Walker was carrying so that “there won’t be any retaliation” on Malone’s part.
Malone said he was carrying his rifle when he went outside his front door and fired it at McMurry after he saw McMurry pointing a revolver at him.
“I shot him before he fired at me.”
McMurry was pronounced dead at the scene.
The gun that Malone said McMurry was holding wasn’t found at the scene.
Oakland police said in court documents that Malone shot McMurry in the back of the head as McMurry was walking away.
Police said Malone then re-racked his shotgun and pointed it at Walker but witnesses told them that Malone’s gun jammed when he tried to shoot Walker.
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Emily Tienken last week, Malone said he didn’t fire a warning shot before he aimed at McMurry because he thought his life was in danger.
“Why would I do that when there’s a gun pointed at me?”
Malone denied Tienken’s allegation that he had a long-running feud with McMurry because he didn’t like McMurry parking in the area where he regularly trimmed his tree.